SGS, the renowned multinational inspection, verification, testing and certification company based in Switzerland, organized two sessions of the Global Softlines Forum in Hong Kong and Shanghai in January. These sessions aimed to explore the future of the Softlines sector and were titled “Embracing Supply Chain Revival.” The events brought together more than 200 representatives, including industry experts, global lead brands and retailers, textile manufacturers, IT companies, government bodies and academia.
The first session, titled “Embracing Supply Chain Revival – Steering Towards Resilience and Growth,” took place on Jan. 19 at the Hong Kong Science Park. The second session, titled “Embracing Supply Chain Revival – Embracing Innovation with Fashion Together for a Sustainable Future,” was held on Jan. 26 in Shanghai.
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Yvonne Tse, vice president of SGS Global Softlines, opened the forums and expressed the company’s commitment to supporting business partners on their journey toward sustainability and technological advancements. Carol Chen, China Softlines director, emphasized the importance of the Softlines industry in the Chinese market and its contribution to the world. Mr. Xie Qiuhui, former director of the Consumer Products Technology Committee of the State Administration of Quality Supervision, shared insights into the challenges and opportunities in the changing environment of the fashion supply chain.
The sessions consisted of industry experts sharing their knowledge and panel discussions. In addition to SGS experts, guest speakers from universities, fashion brands and retailers shared their views, best practices, experiences and expectations regarding the revival of the entire supply chain.
Ruth Hon, global technical head of SGS Softlines, provided insights on the Development Aspect in the Upcoming Wave of Technological Environment, focusing on new materials, new processes, and bringing out value through verification. She also discussed consumer unexplored needs and different aspects of comfort in clothing. Professor L.C. Chan, a research professor from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, gave a talk on the research and development journey of material science and application.
Dr. Min Zhu, senior director of technical services and operations at SGS US & Canada Softlines, discussed the Control Aspect of the supply chain, including regulation updates, legal and governance principles, due diligence of brands and retailers, data integrity and digitalization, claim verification, and the role of technological advancements in revitalizing brand value.
The forum also focused on Sustainability and Circularity in the Fashion Industry. Dr. Eric Wang, global technical deputy head of SGS Softlines, led the discussion on the ESG aspect under the UN SDG framework, covering environmental, social and governance factors. The discussion emphasized the importance of Process Sustainability, Product Sustainability, Chemical Sustainability and Customer Experience Sustainability.
The session on the Resilience of the Global Supply Chain Environment explored production, technology and trade aspects. The Production Aspect discussed concepts like China, China +1, and China +2, as well as globalization and de-globalization trends. The Technology Aspect highlighted the benefits of data technology in today’s supply chain, while the Trade Aspect examined the impacts of the e-commerce sector.
Senior Advisor Spencer Yeung concluded the forum, advising the industry to break through with passion and perseverance in the current business environment.
Overall, the Global Softlines Forum served as an excellent platform for industry leaders to share knowledge and facilitate in-depth exchanges of innovative ideas and experiences. Participants expressed positive attitudes toward collaboration and promoting a more sustainable and responsible future in the fashion industry, eagerly anticipating future events.
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